Constant Contact vs ActiveCampaign: Which Platform Is Best For Your Business?

constant contact vs activecampaign

Are you trying to get more customers? The best way to do it is to have an email newsletter.

But which email newsletter platform should you use? There are lots of different products out there.

In this post, I'm going to review two popular newsletter platforms: Constant Contact and ActiveCampaign.

The first thing you need to know is these services are being marketed quite differently to different audiences.

Take a look at Constant Contact's Google ad. You will notice that it emphasizes its #1 strength: ease of use.​

​Interestingly in Google, ActiveCampaign didn't even bid on the obvious keywords like "ActiveCampaign" or "email marketing".

I finally did find an ad for them when I put in the phrase "Infusionsoft alternative".​

This makes sense, because ActiveCampaign is trying to promote itself as being just as good as Infusionsoft at one tenth the price. With all of its incredible functionality, that's a fair comparison.

So, how do the services stack up?

First of all, you need to have an understanding of what you want to do with your email marketing system. What's the plan of action?

How often are you going to send messages?

Who's in charge of sending the message?

How are you going to build out your email list?

What other software do you currently have and do you need to sync it up with your email service provider?

If you don't know the answers to these questions, no problem. Click here to sign up for one of my consulting packages.

​Here are the pieces you need to understand before you can make an informed decision.

​Initial login

ActiveCampaign can be very overwhelming when you first log in. It seems a bit like being in a spaceship.

Here's a comparison of the home screens when you get a new account:

ActiveCampaign initial screen

​As you can see, it's quite overwhelming when a new user logs into ActiveCampaign. You have no idea where to go.

Since its user base tends to be more sophisticated in their email marketing experience, this isn't a problem for most of their users. I was able to figure it out fairly quickly.

Let's contrast that to Constant Contact's initial login screen:​

As you can see, it's clean and simple. They even provide a handy getting started checklist, so you don't get lost in the process.

Since its user base tends to have less experience with email marketing, this makes a lot of sense.

Sending An Email Broadcast AKA "Email Blast"

The email broadcast is at the heart of any email marketing software. This is when you send a single message to the entire list.

Both have decent editors. I love the fact that ActiveCampaign has a autosave and revert feature in its editor. I've used that one quite often.

Constant Contact has more features in its editor. It's a lot more like using Microsoft Word. If you want to get super fancy with bullet points or things like that, you can do so. Be careful though. Those nested lists can get you into trouble.

I'm going to give Constant Contact the slight edge on the editor although I wish they would add in the unlimited undo feature that ActiveCampaign offers.

Automated Campaigns

An automated campaign also known as an autoresponder campaign is a type of campaign that's based on when the prospect signs up for the email marketing service.

I've used automated campaigns for things like a training series or a birthday card.

ActiveCampaign shines with this type of campaign.​ Constant Contact has some limited functionality for automated campaigns with their Plus package. 

​Marketing Automation and Automated Tagging

Marketing automation is the next new trend in email marketing. This is where the messages are much more customized for the user.

For example, in ActiveCampaign, I can automatically send a new message and a tag for people that clicked on a link on the previous message. In ActiveCampaign, I can tag everyone that opened one message and create a second tag for those that didn't open it.

I can even customize a section within a message. For example, say you were hosting a local event. You know that only a small segment of your audience is within the market of that event. But, maybe in that same email you have content that you want everyone to see. What do you do?

In ActiveCampaign, it's a simple process. You simply show that block with the event invite to people in the target market and hide the block for people that aren't

So, for marketing automation, this is no contest, since Constant Contact doesn't even offer it. As mentioned before, Constant Contact's focus is ease of use and most of their client base wouldn't use marketing automation if it was offered.​

Events, Surveys and Donations

These tools are all available in Constant Contact as part of their Plus package. They are integrated with the email marketing tool. For example, you can use EventSpot for your event registration and easily sync that up so that the attendees can join the email list.

Constant Contact also has some tools available for donations, surveys and more in the Plus package.

​Support

Constant Contact has an amazing support team available via phone or chat. I've always found them to be very helpful. They are available M-F, 8 AM to 10 PM Eastern. I've not had any major problems with the chat, but I have heard that the hold times can be longer on phone support.

ActiveCampaign's support is ok. I've found them to be helpful. On the Lite plan, which I'm on, the support is only by chat. I've found that to be fine for my needs. To get phone support, you need to be on their Enterprise package.

​However, I've found that the ActiveCampaign chat support is not online as much as I would like. They do a great job, when I can get a hold of them. Sending them an email typically gets replied back in one business day.

I give Constant Contact the advantage for support.​

Training and education​

Constant Contact has a very extensive YouTube channel with everything you ever wanted to know about their product as well as everything you ever wanted to know about email marketing in general.

ActiveCampaign, on the other hand, has limited education. Most of their videos are a demonstration of their new product features.

Constant Contact has a huge edge in training and education.

Price

Both services price their products similarly based on the number of contacts. You can send as much email as you want to those contacts. If they unsubscribe from your messages, then they no longer count.

Both services start their packages at 500 contacts.

At the 500 contact level, Constant Contact is $20 a month.

Constant Contact also offers discounts to participating chamber members, some associations and all nonprofits. You need to pay for 6 months at a time to get this option. Please reach out to me if you want to get this discount, because the discount needs to be added manually to your account before you purchase.

Constant Contact also offers a new customer discount coupon code from time to time. Typically, this is around 30% off for the first 3 months, but the deals vary. If you are about to get started with Constant Contact, please let me know so I can find you the best deal going on right now.​

Constant Contact also has a Plus package available for $45 a month for 500 contacts. The Plus package includes the survey, event and automated campaign tools.

ActiveCampaign has a Lite package that is $9 a month for 500 contacts. This package includes the email marketing and marketing automation tools.

ActiveCampaign also offers Plus, Professional and Enterprise packages with a CRM and other advanced tools that you can utilize. Those range from $49-$149 at 500 contacts.

Bottom line

It all depends on what you need and your skill level with email marketing. If you want something that is easy to use and has lots of support, then Constant Contact is the choice for you.

On the other hand, if you want lots of features at an amazing price, then ActiveCampaign is a better choice.

Both platforms offer a free trial, so if you're unsure, try them both out and compare them for yourself.

Click here to try Constant Contact

Click here to try ActiveCampaign​